Uruguay striker Diego Forlan has recovered from a thigh injury and will play in the FIFA World Cup™ match for third place against Germany, coach Oscar Tabarez revealed on Friday. The influential Atletico Madrid forward was substituted in the 84th minute of Uruguay's 3-2 semi-final defeat by the Netherlands but Tabarez says Forlan is ready to assume a starting role against Joachim Low's side on Saturday.
"Yes, he's ready, but that doesn't mean he's only going to play to score and for the top goalscorers standings," said Tabarez of four-goal Forlan, who currently trails Spain's David Villa and Holland's Wesley Sneijder by one goal in the race for the adidas Golden Boot. "We absolutely want to win this match and it's a collective effort."
Winning the prize for the tournament's most prolific marksman would cap a memorable season for Forlan, who netted twice as Atletico Madrid defeated Fulham in the final of the UEFA Europa League in May.
Tabarez is convinced he can be decisive once again against the Germans. "There are lots of good things to say about Diego," he said. "He's much more than just an excellent footballer and a great professional; he's there in the big matches."
We absolutely want to win this match and it's a collective effort.
Forlan will be joined at the point of the attack by strike partner Luis Suarez, who missed the semi-final through suspension after being sent off for a handball in the quarter-final win against Ghana.
Uruguay emerged from a tough group featuring 2006 runners-up France, hosts South Africa and a well-drilled Mexico side before defeating South Korea 2-1 to reach the last eight. Their victory on penalties against Ghana gave Uruguay their first semi-final appearance since 1970 and Tabarez wants his team to round off their memorable campaign on a high by beating Germany.
"They're a marvellous opponent," said Tabarez. "They belong to the history of the World Cup, having playing at every finals since 1954 and being three-time world champions. It's very motivating to meet one of the best teams of the tournament, who play with lots of young players. But it's not impossible, just as it wasn't impossible against the Netherlands."
As he did prior to the game against the Dutch, Tabarez named his starting XI for the third-place play-off, with regular captain Diego Lugano set to return from injury at centre-back and left-back Jorge Fucile also available after suspension.